Doctor Who #131: The Smugglers Part 3

"Threaten you me with the rope? Then you shall stand with me on the gallows."TECHNICAL SPECS: Missing except from two violent clips, I've used a reconstruction (Part 1, Part 2). First aired Sep.24 1966.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor escapes and finds the key to Avery's treasure, as the villains bear down on him and on each other.

REVIEW: Having two villainous factions creates interesting levels of morality in this episode, with Pike and Cherub at the lowest possible level, and Kewper and the Squire somewhere in the middle. So Kewper does indeed help the Doctor escape the Black Albatross, but he turns against him once they're free, and uses what he's found out on the ship to prepare a trap for Pike's men and get Avery's treasure for his side. There are lines his ally the Squire won't cross, however, and while he's quite happy to run a smuggling ring, he balks at killing someone in cold blood. Kewper's a lot more flexible when it comes to that. Pike and Cherub's morality isn't so much flexible as it is completely absent. Pike kills one of his own men for allowing the Doctor and Kewper to escape, and plans not only to take Avery's treasure, but to steal the smuggler's hoard as well. His gentlemanly facade drops completely when he is angered, and there's no doubt the man is a monster. As for Cherub, he skulks around the episode, much as Blake had in the previous one, and pops out at the end just to kill Kewper and shoot the Squire.

It's in this cutthroat environment that our heroes must survive. This is made easier by two things: First, some of the characters are dumb, so Jamaica lets himself be distracted by the Doctor's card reading and gets knocked out for his trouble. It's a fun scene because the Doctor delights in making the cards tell the story, and doesn't play too much on Jamaica's superstitious nature. Yes, he feigns a supernatural ability, but he could have been doing card tricks or inventing fizzbin and the outcome would have been the same. The other advantage they have is Blake, who knows better than to trust the Squire, but needs more evidence before going up against him. Look for him to get a posse together to fight off the pirates. Jamaica is really the only rube in the episode, because the other villains are actively trying to outsmart one another. Even as Kewper plans an ambush for that night, Pike is accelerating his plans to attack in broad daylight to keep the element of surprise. Cherub plays spy, and both sides plan to use the Doctor to lead them to the treasure.

The Doctor might have the three names the churchwarden gave him, but it's his companions' enthusiasm that unlocks the code. During a short breather from the action and intrigue, they walk through the church cemetary and marvel at some colorful epitaphs, which in turn makes the Doctor realize the names were like a map of the crypt under the church. I think this is the first time a companion has accidentally given the Doctor the answer and been complimented for it. These days, all the companions are "brilliant" even if they don't mean to be, but "inspired" Polly might have been the first. Other companions have contributed, but they were doing so on purpose. The start of a charming Doctor Who tradition.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - The intrigue between the villains keep the episode humming along nicely, and the brutality of the character deaths keeps our heroes in constant danger.



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